The Perfect Shiitake Mushroom Sauce

Shiitake Mushrooms in a creamy sauce

Who does not like a mushroom sauce? Over toast, with mashed potato, poured over steamed vegetables, it is a winner in any language.

This sauce is made with shiitake mushrooms cooked in a creamy sauce with tamari. The sauce is thickened with kudzu, a Japanese starch used to thicken sauces. It is available in supermarkets, Asian grocers and health shops. It makes the most beautiful, smooth and glossy sauce. But if you can’t find kudzu, use cornflour.

Looking for mushroom recipes? Try Mushroom and Carrot Salad with Mung Sprouts and Ginger Vinaigrette, a Mushroom Curry, and Mushrooms for Toast.

You will find other Mushroom recipes here and here. Or explore our easy Winter dishes here and here.

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Zhug | Zhoug | Skhug | A Coriander-Chilli Paste, Dip and Sauce

A versatile Yemini-Israeli paste made from green coriander (cilantro), green chillies and earthy spices

What to do with the left over coriander (cilantro) leaves and stems at the end of the week – a perpetual problem in a family that uses a lot of green coriander. One solution we have is to make Coriander Paste. Another is to make Zhoug, a Yemeni-Israeli sauce or dip full of spices. Traditionally a perfect accompaniment to pita with falafel, it also serves as a sauce, spread and dip. It can be stirred into soups and stews to spark them up. Zhoug can be fiery hot, depending on your chilli level, and Yemenites believe that eating zhoug daily strengthens the immune system, keeps away illness and strengthens the heart.

Once you have experienced the fragrant spiciness of Zhoug, you will be making this weekly with your left over coriander, or, indeed, buying extra coriander each week, just to make this pesto-like sauce. Actually, Zhoug is a green cousin to Shatta, which is a similar dish, except Shatta uses mild red chillies. Zhoug has also been called Israeli Chilli Paste, a green harissa, a Middle Eastern Gremolata and a hot chermoula.

Are you looking for other coriander recipes? Similar recipes include Coriander Paste, Coriander Pesto, and Coriander and Coconut Chutney.

Or try these: Carrots and Green Peas with Green Coriander, Coriander and Lemongrass Vichyssoise, Pudla with Green Coriander, or Urad Dal with Tomato, Coconut and Green Coriander.

Read some more about Green Coriander, and also How to Use Leftover Green Coriander.

You might also like other Coriander dishes and other Coriander Pastes. Middle Eastern dishes are here and here. Or enjoy our easy Late Autumn dishes.

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Green Peppers in Yoghurt

The Middle East has a variety of flavours and dishes that are amazing and under-explored in other countries. And yoghurt, one of my favourite food stuffs, features strongly there as it does in India. The recipes using yoghurt are often simple – take a vegetable, some yoghurt, garlic, dried mint and some spices, mix and serve.

Traditionally it is used as a pre-dinner snack or appetiser, generally served with pita bread., but you can use any flat bread. We get a great Afghan flatbread cooked fresh on the tandoor from our local shop, and it is amazing.

You can use the Green Peppers in Yoghurt as you might use a salad. If you use thick, drained yoghurt they can be used as a dip or spread, or it can be used as a sauce or dressing.

If you are looking for other Middle Eastern dishes, try Fragrant Eggplant with a Garlic-Yoghurt Sauce, Cucumber and Yoghurt Mezze, and Chickpea “Tabbouleh”.  All of our Middle Eastern dishes are here.

Capsicum recipes you might like to explore include Grilled Peppers and Eggplant Salad, Roasted Red Pepper Salad, and Baked Peppers with Cherry Tomatoes. All of our Capsicum dishes are here. All of our Salads are here.

Our Dips are here if you are after dips and sauces. Or simply take some time to explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Hand Made Pesto | Zeffirino Pesto

Hand made, home made pesto is the most exquisite of creations. Do try it.

I first made it long ago, when I took a cooking class with Bill Grainger of the famous Bills Restaurants in Sydney, and author of many Sydney-style cookbooks. He made pesto by hand in the class. At home, Bill didn’t keep a lot of gadgets in his kitchen and didn’t have a blender!! So at home he always made it by hand. A man after my own heart – Meditation in the kitchen through manual grinding. There is something about pesto that you make yourself, especially if you grow your own basil.

This recipe is enough to make you reach for the basil plant, and bring the mortar and pestle out of the cupboard. You can smell the basil even while reading the recipe…. and taste the pasta.

Are you looking for pasta sauces? Try Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce, Baked Tomato Pasta Sauce, and Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Peppers and Tomato.

You might also like our Pesto recipes here and here. All of our Pasta Sauce recipes are here. Or you might like to browse our Italian recipes here and here. Alternatively, take some time to check out our easy Mid Summer recipes.

Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series – vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006.

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Chickpea Fingers with Tomato Salsa

Shallow fried chickpea flour bite sized snacks

A really nice snack to have when you are hot or tired or jet lagged, made with chickpea flour. It takes about 30 mins including cooling time.

Chickpea flour, also called besan or gram flour, is an essential ingredient in the kitchen, especially for Indian cooking. It makes a great batter, thickener, thin fritter or pan cake style pudla/cheela, and other goodies. Why not also try Pudla with Green Coriander and Mung Sprouts, Crispy Battered Onion Rings, and Gram Flour Vada. Going Italian, try the wonderful Farinata with Tomatoes and Onion. If it is desserts that you are after, try this Besan Custard.

Feel free to browse all of our Chickpea Flour recipes here and here. Our Salsa recipes are here. Or you might like to browse Snack recipes here and here. Check out our easy Mid Summer Recipes.

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Peach Salsa with Marinated Tofu

Let’s celebrate Summer with its perfect stone fruits – and Peaches reign supreme during the Summer months. This is a quick and easy salsa with peaches. It can be used in any way you like, but here we have paired it with marinated tofu. The tofu is definitely optional – for example the salsa would go well with haloumi, or in lovely little lettuce cups. It would make a light lunch with some Middle Eastern flatbread. Chunks of watermelon, slightly salted, with the Peach Salsa on the side.

Tofu has a wonderful ability to absorb flavours and marinating it is such a pleasurable way to turn blandness into flavourful nuggets.

You might like to try our other Salsa recipes, other Peach recipes and other Tofu recipes. Or feel free to sit and explore our easy Early Summer dishes.

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Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Peppers and Tomato

This dish combines the classic flavours of an Italian pasta dish.

Often a pasta dish is my go-to Saturday or Sunday night fare. With a friend from a good Italian commercial pasta making family, we are never short of good pasta. This dish combines the classic flavours of an Italian pasta dish. Use a great spaghetti, a thick one if you can, or thin if you cannot. Pasta shells work well also.

You might like to read Pasta with Soul – how long to cook pasta. Similar dishes include Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce, Baked Tomato Pasta Sauce, Pasta Aglio e Olio, and Pasta with Tomato and Basil. Explore our other Pasta recipes here and here.

Feel free to browse our Eggplant recipes here and here.  We have some Italian recipes here and here. Check out our easy Winter recipes here and here.

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Seasonal Cooking | Salads, Dressings, Dips and Sauces for Early Autumn Good Living

Salads are excellent in Autumn. As the heat retreats, so many vegetables are at their best in Early Autumn. Salads are still very much at the fore of our kitchen fare. As the heat tempers and the gardens once gain flourish, a slow Autumn rhythm begins to emerge.

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Baked Tomato Pasta Sauce

How do we love tomatoes? Let me count the ways. We do eat them raw, of course, especially in the occasional tomato salad, and we love Tomato  and avocado sandwiches on thick slices of the freshest bread, or tomato and pomegranate salad, and tomato tossed through hot spaghetti with a chilli and some olive oil. But best of all we love the transformation that occurs when juicy Autumn tomatoes are cooked.

Recently, I have been oven baking them into a wonderful sauce for pasta, for stirring through a vegetable hot pot, or for baking beans a la Tuscan Baked Beans (but use the juicy baked tomatoes instead of water). They are also great in curries – use them instead of fresh tomatoes when cooking Indian dishes. Blitz the tomatoes into a soup. The juicy roasted sauce can also be frozen for use in some later dish.

You might like to browse our Tomato Salads, here and here, and our Tomato Soups here and here. All Tomato recipes are here and here. Find inspiration in our Autumn recipes here and here.

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Seasonal Cooking | Salads, Dips, Chutneys and Vegetables for Mid Spring Munching

Inspiration for Mid Spring Healthy Living

What a special month this is, quintessential Spring. No matter where you are it is a month of change. Today, a few more dishes to sparkle in your kitchen during the month to come.

Celebrating Spring

Some gorgeous inspirational fruit and vegetables for you this Mid Spring. You can also browse

Other gorgeous Springtime posts include:

If you have difficulty with any links, please let us know. We would love to fix them for you.

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Seasonal Cooking | Salads, Dips, Chutneys, Pickles and Vegetables for Mid Autumn

Everything from Vegetables for Healthy Mid Autumn Living

What a special month this is, quintessential Autumn. No matter where you are it is a month of change. Beautiful cold weather vegetables come to the table – Spinach, Pumpkin, Potatoes, Eggplants. The vegetables at this time of the year are superb.

Enjoy some Indian inspiration for Autumn deliciousness. You can also browse Salad and Vegetable Dishes for Mid Autumn; Indian Deliciousness; Breads, Grains, Lentils and Pasta; Soups; Teas and Sweet Desserts; and Tips, Hint and How To’s for Mid Autumn. (Some of these might not be available now but will be published in the next few days.)

If you have difficulty with any links, please let us know. We would love to fix them for you.

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Italian Tomato Sauce

A very versatile Italian Sauce

This is a gorgeously herby tomato sauce with an Italian swagger. It cooks slowly down then is blended well (using a blender) or coarsely (with an immersion blender), and the sauce can be frozen. It pairs delightfully with cheeses like fontina, can serve as a fresh chutney, used as a spread in layered sandwiches and toasties, and of course serves as a sauce as well.

It was my daughter who first pointed out how good this recipe is. It has been in use in our household since 1998. That is how good it is!

Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series. You might also like our Tomato recipes here and here. Or you might like to browse Sauce recipes here and here. Check out our easy Autumn recipes here and here.

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Seasonal Cooking | Vegetables for Early Autumn Good Living

As the heat of summer leaves, the gorgeous light of Autumn arrives. Food gently reminds us of summer months and also of the coming cold.

Vegetables excel in Autumn. After the heat retreats, so many vegetables are at their best in Early Autumn. Vegetable dishes are still very much at the fore of our kitchen fare. As the heat tempers and the gardens once gain flourish, a slow Autumn rhythm begins to emerge.

Enjoy our Vegetable Inspiration for Early Autumn.

You can also browse other Early Autumn recipes:

If you notice any links that have problems, please let us know – we’d love to fix them for you.

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Roasted Eggplant Salad with Unripe Grape Juice (Verjuice)

An unusual use of verjuice in a Greek eggplant dish

In Greece, I hear that one of my favourite ingredients, verjuice, is used as a replacement for lemon juice when the fruit is out of season or unavailable. What a great idea!

Are you looking for eggplant recipes? You can browse here and here. Greek recipes are here and here. Or perhaps check our Autumn recipes here and here.

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Seasonal Cooking | Pastes, Pickles and Preserves for Late Summer | Dips, Salsas, Jams and Sauces Too

Summer is eating outside, picnics, the beach and wonderful, fresh, healthy food for balanced and healthy living in Late Summer.

Summer is a time for enjoying light ingredients, simple vegetables, for example, with sauces or dressings drizzled over. Dipped into purees, pastes and dips. It is also a time to take great ingredients and begin thinking about how to preserve them for the winter – freeze, make pastes, ferment into kimchi.

Enjoy some Summery Pastes, Purees, Pickles and Preserves Inspiration, just perfect for Late Summer. You can also browse S0up Recipes for Late Summer; Salad, Vegetable and BBQ Recipes; Indian Deliciousness; Goodies, Grains, Lentils and More; Cooling Drinks and Sweet Things; and Tips and Hints for Cooking in Late Summer. (Some of these will be published over the next few days.)

If you find any broken links, please let us know.

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